Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gray May Day

Can you believe that it is May 01st?  I can't!  Time is just speeding past lately.   We woke up to a very gray and drizzly day here in Southern California.  That is okay with me though.  Soon enough we will be into high nineties and triple digits, and I am not ready!  The older I get, the less tolerance I have for the heat.   I bought a nice chuck roast at the market yesterday, knowing that the next few days were supposed to be sort of drizzly.  I put it into the crock pot at 6:30 this morning, along with a jar of pepperoncinis and some fresh garlic cloves tucked into the meat.  The house smells so good.
I have been watching all day as a pair of house finch are building their nest just outside the sliding door to our patio.  Yesterday when they were scoping the area out, I kept going out to discourage them, but they were not to be deterred.  They have built quite a bit of their nest already.

I tried to discourage them because once those eggs are in there, I know that we will be dive bombed every time coming into or out of that door.  And this is a very heavily used door too!  Apparently, they could not find a suitable tree, and chose this speaker instead!!
I have also been watching a pair of wrens build their nest out by the chicken coop.  They took up residence in a blue bird box, and built a nice tall sturdy nest in only a couple of days.
Wrens build their nests on a foundation of sticks and then they build the nest out of soft grasses and leaves.  Inside are 6 tiny brown and white speckled eggs. 
Mama wren only leaves the nest for brief periods to hunt for food, never letting the eggs get cool.  Once the eggs have hatched, she will rely on Daddy wren to bring food to her.  This box is in an avocado tree, and is facing the chicken coop, so I have been able to enjoy a lot of the activity.
That is my garden hat hanging on a fence post.  Speaking of nests....when I was taking the photo of the wren nest, I turned around to discover that Chickas was laying an egg.
All five girls will take turns to lay their eggs in that wine box.  The wooden laying box to the right, goes mostly unused.  Every once in a while, Aunt Bea will lay her little white egg in there, but no one else will use it.
Look at her dirty face.  She has been digging the wet earth for worms all day.  We recently moved the coop out to the middle of the grove, underneath the huge canopy of two avocado trees.  It is much more sheltered from the elements, and very shady for our hot summers.  And just the perfect location all around.  I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier?  I used some old wrought iron fencing and built a run that goes around the coop and trees, for when I don't want them to have full access to the property.
I have used chicken wire going all the way around the run, but Aunt Bea kept busting out.  I couldn't figure out how she was doing it.  Then today, I caught her.
She hopped to the tree, then from the tree to the top of fence, and then down she went.
Ever so proud of herself!!  STINKER!!!  It isn't critical now that they can't escape.  Soon I will be adding to my flock, and when I add the new chicks to the hen house, they will be primarily in the coop strictly to lay eggs, and roost for the night.   So a larger space was needed to keep them safe, but not "cooped" up.
I have moved my bright yellow wicker settee to the run to sit under the shade of the big trees and watch the antics of my girls, as well as the pair of wrens that have moved in.
My garden is growing well, and enjoying the cool and wet days we have been having.  I did have to transplant a couple of things, as I added to, and rearranged my garden.  Everything looks like it is going to make it with only one yellow squash plant looking a tad wilted still.

The above box contains Kale, which is ready for some picking, three tomato plants, radishes, also ready for harvest, and then some green onions and carrots just poking through.
The next box contains along the back row, cucumbers, then along the outside where the white trellis is, green beans, growing up the red garden structure is snap peas, cilantro and basil in the front, and several varieties of lettuce, some of which were just planted, and not yet poking through.  The peas are reaching their delicate tendrils for sturdy places to hang onto.
The next box only contains zucchini.  I will most likely remove a couple of these seedlings that have only recently broken through the earth.  They really need space to spread out and grow.  I will direct them to grow and extend outside the garden box once their foliage gets too big.
Behind the zucchini in pots, are two more varieties of tomatoes.
The one on the right is a cherry tomato, which I have never grown before.  The next box, is my new one that Mr. G just built for me.  So this box got a later planting.  It contains, parsley, sage, thyme, cantaloupe along the back so it can trellis up the chain link fence.  In the right hand corner is eggplant, and jalapeno peppers, and then seeds that have not come through yet are spinach, green onions, more lettuce  and the yellow squash I transplanted. 
Next to this, is a box of radishes, and a tire with strawberries in it.
I have taken over this whole space that used to contain our garbage cans.  It is the sunniest location in the yard, and the best place to grow veggies that I have.  So the cans have been relocated, and it is now all my garden.  Because of the chickens, who love to scratch up new seeds, and dig for worms in the warm earth, I have had to build a makeshift fence of sorts to keep them out.  It is not very pretty, but it works.
It is not a huge space, but I have 4 raised beds, and several other containers that I use.  It also has my compost bin there, and an old dresser than I  use for a potting bench.  It suits me just fine.  When you have chickens, and you let them free range, you can't have manicured yards.  Not that mine ever were, but I have had to get used to some messes that they make.  Like this area that they have claimed as their dust bathing area.
I keep hosing the dirt back into this planter, and they keep kicking it out.  Oh well.
And this side is just as bad where they have scratched out all the bark.
There is supposed to be a strip of concrete curbing separating the planter from the grove, but they keep doing this!!!  Oh well!!  I love my chickens.  And I don't mind a bit.  The joy they bring me is well worth the small messes they make in my yard!!!
I pulled out my bobble today too.  I have been so busy that I have not touched it in two weeks.
It is just yummy, and I love this pattern!!!!
Thank you for stopping by to visit today.  I see that I have some new followers.  I will get around to say hello to you in the next day or so.  Welcome!!   Thanks for all of the nice words regarding my last post.  I wasn't intending to take a blog break though.  I couldn't do that!!!  I was just trying to slow down a bit and recover from a very busy few weeks.
My grandgirls are due here any  minute.  Mommy and Daddy have orientation for Hannah who will be starting Kindergarten!!   She and Noah both will start Kindergarten in August.  But they will be attending different schools. 
Tootle Loo
XO  Kris


Bethany said...

I LOVE the tire strawberries!!!!!
It cracks me up when animals are creative about their escape routes :)

Kelli said...

Your dinner looks wonderful! i have never thought to put pepperoncinis in with a roast. I will have to give that a try.

Cheapchick said...

Great pics, ah, the antics of chickens.

Nicolle said...

I bet your house does smell good. I love that dish. I need to make it again. So yummy! I'm so glad you shared the recipe because it's a favorite of ours now. LOVE your chickens and your garden. One day, I keep saying, I will have a garden.

I hope you enjoyed your day. I love rainy/cloudy days, as long as they don't last too long.


Gloria said...

I was reasing Erika post so nice:))
and love your pictures so much!
and..I cant believe is May LOL

by Teresa said...

Hi Kris! I loved this post, it's like I was over for a visit and was following you around as you did this and that around your "ranch". We're still having too cold of weather to start our raised beds, but hopefully soon we'll get some nice weather. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

SJ Scott said...

I sure am missing California...we can't even look at a tomato plant yet! Love the bobble!

Grayseasailor said...

Thanks for a wonderful visit! It was fun and interesting to see some of the antics of the birds around you. Your garden is already looking productive! We are going to abandon the garden area we had for the last two years and we are going to put some planters in a different spot this year to test the location before building some raised beds. Your bobble is sooooo beeeeautiful!!! I'm glad you are enjoying working on it! <3

corners of my life said...

Have you ever used pepper rings instead of pepperoncinis? Much easier and tastes delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

❀❀❀Ðαωᾔ❀❀❀ said...

Your garden is looking great girl:)

priscilla said...

Your blanket looks beautiful !
Love your chickens..wish we could have them.. I think my neighbors might complain :) ..your garden looks great as well !

Mereknits said...

I love this post, it is like I was walking around with you in the yard, saying Hi to the girls. Looks like everything is growing and flourishing.
Happy Wednesday,

Debbie said...

Good morning! Yes yesterday was quite gloomy but I wasn't prepared, I was surprised...didn't know it was coming. I am with you though, NOT ready for the heat. I always love your gardening and chicken stories. LOVE the colors you are working with...soo pretty. Have a good day Kris!

Karen Bates said...

Loved my visit, Aunt Bea, is so funny! They are smarter than most people think. Your garden is doing so well! After losing Rosa, I hope to add to my coop too.

Cheryl said...

I'm trying that with a roast...sounds so yummmy!!! Great post, with wonderful pictures...ok, when do I move in?!

Kerri said...

Your garden sure is growing FAST! And, awesome picture of the wren's nest...I am amazed that such little birds can put together that beauty!

Kerri said...

Your garden sure is growing FAST! And, awesome picture of the wren's nest...I am amazed that such little birds can put together that beauty!

NanaNor's said...

Hi, Your birds sound like ours-last spring we had house wrens nest in a wreath by the front door. I even taped off our porch when the babies were born but boy did they make a mess-hubby nicely cleaned the wreath for me but their poop ate at the paint on the wall. This year, I decided not to put up the wreath and put up a flower holder and they are back-a much smaller space but man I wish we had changed the flower holder to a plaque before we left because when we got back I was going to change it and there were already eggs in it. Next year; this summer I'll be touching up the paint. Thanks for sharing my friend.
Have a great evening.

Holly said...

I just love seeing your beautiful yard and of course the girls. Wish I were sitting there with you on that yellow setee enjoying a glass of iced tea with you.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I really enjoyed visiting your garden and chickens...what a wonderful property you have, Kris!

Debbiedoo's said...

Looking good Kris!

DaCraftyLady Debb said...

What time is dinner? lol...I know the weather has been weird huh? Thise chicks eggs are so tiny, how fun to watch the nests, seems all the birds are busy right now building nests, I have 2 sparrows, the striped headed ones building a nest in the bird house outside my window. They do it every year...love the colors n the afghan and your hat looks good out there. :) I just planted 1 tomato plant this year, looks like you have a nice garden started... ~~Debb

Whosyergurl said...

I can't imagine how wonderful your house must smell with that meat cooking!
I hate the chicken poo everywhere, but Doug still lets them free range a lot. Plus, they tear up my flower beds!
xo, Cheryl
p.s. we are getting new babies, tomorrow and one of the buffs is still broody. Should have chicks soon.

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

Wow those chickens have a nice place. Mine would be jealous but I won't tell them. Your garden is really coming along. I am having a hard time getting my cucumbers to get going. I think it is too cool for them.